Album Review: Havok – Unnatural Selection
Posted by Reggie
Thrash. It’s a very simple word that kind of rolls off the tongue. Go ahead and say it “thrash.” It has a nice ring to it. Not like post-thrash, re-thrash, new-gen thrash, thrashcore, or thrash resurgence. Havok is just thrash. That’s all. Their new album, Unnatural Selection epitomizes something we don’t hear too often these days – thrash. There’s that simple word again. In case you never looked it up it just means fast tempo and aggression. A lot of bands perfected the genre and inspired others to take the best parts of thrash and morph into many things. We all know some of the greats of the genre: Big Four, Testament, Sepultura, Annihilator, Overkill, and Machine Head to name a few. And just when you thought thrash was old man’s metal (yeah I’m looking at you Mik), bands like Trivium, Evile, and Havok are keeping that torch alive for a new generation of metalhead.
I only heard of Havok this year (2013) first the first time when I saw them open a set for Testament and Flotsam and Jetsam in Denver. I don’t always expect much from local acts, but damn they had me from the first note through their entire set. They were well-received by the local crowd and had me waiting patiently while they went off to record their latest album…the one I am getting to in a minute.
Unnatural Selection is just under 50 minutes of brute thrash. It’s aggressive and uncompromising. I grew up with thrash and to hear a band today create music from my favorite genre in nostalgic. I can pick out elements from all those great bands of the day. On this album, I hear early Death Angel, Overkill, and Metallica influences. And for Black Sabbath fans, there is a cover of Children of the Grave you may enjoy.
The album immediately kicks into overdrive with I Am The State. There isn’t a fancy intro just a cool set of riffs before the classic thrash rhythm takes over. The album maintains a relatively steady pace throughout with few songs taking on a slower more varied tempo such as Is It True, Waste of Life, and Chasing The Edge. There is no ballad which was popular back in the 80s even with thrash bands. This is music designed youthful angst. Unnatural Selection is thrash as it was intended…with no additional influence or combinations with other subgenres. Just thrash…such a nice word.
Overall, a good kick in the ass. I am going to have to travel back in time to listen to their previous albums. Of course, time is never on my side, but it would make for a good retro review to compare and old album to a new one since it’s usually the other way around. Highly enjoyable, no frills, metal!